Hey hey everyone! I am writing this article a week after turning 30. I was surrounded by my best friends, my boyfriend, and crystal-clear water in Turks and Caicos for my 30th birthday.
While I don’t think I look or feel 30, do I believe my life experiences justify my age! Not just on a financial standpoint, although that is the basis of today’s article, but all-around life lessons. My financial road to 30 was not a pretty, nor easy one. However, I am in the best place I’ve ever been financially. I truly believe it’s only up from here! Here are 30 money lessons I learned by 30. I hope these lessons can help you as you approach your next milestone age!
#1 Traveling is much better when you can afford it.
Considering I was in sunny Turks and Caicos, completely paid for on my 30th birthday, it made me think of my past travels and how I truly couldn’t afford them. I would either put trips on my credit card, or use my rent money. Both scenarios resulted in me coming home from the trip even more stressed than before I left.
#2 It's much easier to stay debt free when you work for it.
I’ve been debt free 2 times in my life. Once, a couple years ago when I came into some extra money. And once again, more recently, when I worked my tail off to save for it. I truly believe that had I worked for my first debt-free experience, it would have lasted. Since I came into money and paid it off, it seemed easier to get right back into debt. Granted, I got into debt for my business, but guess what? Debt is debt.
#3 Plan for the unplanned.
Budgeting your money down to the penny, and not having something set aside each month for unexpected or miscellaneous expenses is a recipe for a failed budget.
#4 Investing is easier than it sounds.
My first experience with investing in my early twenties was individual stocks. I had a few wins but a few more losses. Once I diversified, by investing in multiple funds, the growth was a lot more stable and a lot less stressful. Betterment has been my best friend.
#5 No risk, no reward.
If I hadn’t invested in starting City Girl Savings, it would never be where it is today. Each year my business grows and grows. Had I not taken the risk to start my business, I would not be in the position to help other women (the best reward), and see the continued growth. Read why I started City Girl Savings in the first place.
#6 Experiences are much better than material items.
I didn’t know this 10 years ago. I thought the more stuff I accumulated, the better I’d look and feel. Turns out, the more experiences I have, the better I look and feel!
#7 Researching my 401k investments was the best thing I could do for myself.
I started investing in my 401k plan at age 21. I was invested in a single Target Date Fund that grew slowly. At about age 25, I researched the best investments for my 401k and made the change, my 401k returns shot up significantly. I’m closer to 6 figures than not.
#8 A budget is a necessity.
#9 Do what it takes to get to the next level financially.
Late last year, I tried Uber. I did it for about 3 months and made a lot of money. I did it to see what I could make, see how impactful it could be, and serve as an example. I didn’t need it, but I did what it took to level up.
#10 Multiple streams of income is a must.
Having one source of income is not the way to go. I’ve always had multiple income streams at the same time, only now I see how critical it is to getting ahead.
#11 Life is too short to deprive yourself.
There must be a balance between saving money and spending money on things that will make you feel better. You shouldn’t have one or the other.
#12 Moderation is key.
Continuing from lesson #11, moderation is the key to successful budgeting.
#13 Practice what you preach.
Everything I coach my clients to, I follow myself. I’ve learned that giving advice is easier than applying it to yourself, but once you do, you are a living testament to your success (and advice).
#14 Support small businesses.
7 years ago, I wanted name brand everything. Today, I’m less concerned with the name and more concerned with the impact. Supporting small, local and businesses of friends is much more fulfilling than having name brand items.
#15 Be willing to sacrifice.
My car is 11 years old. It’s been paid off for 11 years. It’s not the prettiest car, but it works. Not having a car payment, because I’m willing to sacrifice what I’m driving, has allowed me to get further ahead.
#16 Nothing boosts your credit score more than becoming debt free.
If your credit score is floating under 650, I guarantee you that becoming debt free (especially collection accounts and credit card debts) will jump your score up.
#17 The home-buying process is no joke.
Make sure your ducks are in a row before pursuing a home purchase. I’m talking income, debts, documents, and down payment money.
#18 When you do good, good comes to you.
Every time I sign a new client, who is serious about getting her financial life in order, the universe sends money or some form of financial wins her way. The same applies to me. When I stay on track, financial wins unexpectedly come.
#19 Anyone can become a millionaire, if they start young enough.
A 25-year-old who contributes $300/month (including employer match) to a 401k plan that averages 8% return, will have over $1,000,000 in their account by age 65. It doesn’t take much, but it does take you starting RIGHT NOW! Becoming a millionaire is easier than you think.
#20 Applaud yourself.
Whenever I stay in budget, hit a savings goal, or obtain a financial accomplishment, I take the time to recognize and applaud myself. Sometimes, I’ll even treat myself! This encourages me to keep it up and allows me to see what I’m capable of.
#21 Sometimes your brows will look a mess.
I only get my nails, hair and eyebrows done when I have a trip coming, so basically twice a year. The amount of money I save justifies my brows looking a mess!
#22 Emergencies are inevitable.
Unexpected expenses, financial emergencies, and unwanted items will always happen. Those things are a lot easier to deal with when I have money designated for them, via an emergency fund!
#23 You get out what you put in.
If your financial attempts are half-ass, your results will be half-ass.
#24 You don’t get what you don’t ask for.
There is always room to negotiate. All it takes is you asking for what you want. The worse case scenario is that you are in the exact same spot. When I got over the fear of “asking” for what I want, more things went my way than expected.
#25 The couple that saves together, stays together.
My boyfriend and I were not on the same page financially in the beginning, and we felt it. Fast forward 7 years, we are making so many moves together because we plan, save and set financial goals.
#26 Money doesn’t bring happiness, but it helps.
If you think more money will make you happy, it won’t. However, more money can help you get closer to the things that will make you happy.
#27 If you can’t hold yourself accountable, find someone who will.
Ultimately, you will need to hold yourself accountable to your spending and financial decisions. However, until you get to that place, find someone that will hold you accountable. Accountability is crucial to money success, and it took me some time to realize it.
#28 Keep the end goal in mind.
Nothing makes budgeting, saving and sacrificing easier than focusing on the end result.
#29 YOLO is not acceptable for finances.
The “I’ll figure it out later” mindset does not work when it comes to money. Have a plan. Set a budget. Reach your goals.
#30 The lessons never stop.
They say once you’ve stopped learning, you’ve stopped living. The money lessons will never stop. The learning will never stop. Be open and willing to change, and it will lead to great things.
I hope my 30 money lessons inspire you to think about your finances and make changes where you need to. Don’t wait to get yourself on financial track. The time is now! What major money lessons have you learned in life? What do you think of my lessons above? Leave a comment below to share!
The CGS Team